ALEXANDRIA, Va., August 20, 2013 -- The federal agency that administers boating grant funds got a “high-five” today from the nation’s largest recreational boating organization, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). That’s because the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) took an extraordinary action to make added money available to boating communities nationwide for 2013 in the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program, or “BIG” program. Paid for by boaters themselves, BIG channels money to state boating agencies through a competitive grant process to build transient slips, add new moorings and otherwise improve facilities for cruising boaters.
In a letter sent today to FWS Director Dan Ashe, BoatUS President Margaret Podlich applauded the agency’s expedited response in awarding nine grants in seven states with surplus 2013 funds, money that otherwise would have sat idle until the 2014 grant cycle.
“Several of those grants will help mitigate damages from Superstorm Sandy,” Podlich wrote. “But even more significant is the boost your agency’s action gives to boating in general as [we] continue to recover from the financial storms that have beset us all in recent years.”
Funding from the BIG program comes from excise taxes on boat gasoline and fishing tackle that boaters and anglers pay into the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund, formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund. BoatUS was instrumental in creating the program that caters to recreational boats more than 26-feet in length. Often viewed by local municipalities as an economic development tool to attract cruising boats and related boater spending, over $170 million in grants have been awarded since the program began in 1998. Much of the money has been used to provide safe anchorage and boating access such as transient slips as well as restrooms, fuel docks, dingy docks, utilities, pump-outs and other boating infrastructure.
Two of the nine second-round grants for 2013 go to marinas in Belmar and Middle Township, New Jersey to rebuild transient facilities damaged by Superstorm Sandy last October. Another goes to Ossining, New York, a Hudson River town also damaged by Sandy. The nine grants include:
FL: Riviera Beach Marina Transient Docks, Riviera Beach: BIG grant: $850,000; non-Federal match: $922,736; total project cost: $1,772,736 The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will partner with the City of Riviera Beach, the local redevelopment agency and others to complete Phase II of the City Marina expansion. The project includes dockage for up to 26 eligible vessels, which will be installed to withstand a Category 3 hurricane. Additional features for the benefit of eligible boaters include utilities, a gangway, a fueling platform, fire suppression equipment, and communications infrastructure.
NJ: Belmar Municipal Marina, Borough of Belmar: BIG grant: $270,059; non-Federal match: $94,886; total project cost: $364,945. Superstorm Sandy caused damage to Belmar Marina’s docks and gangways, floating fuel dock, utilities, and other facilities. This marina in northern coastal New Jersey at the Shark River Inlet is a critical harbor of refuge for boaters traveling along the coast. The State Department of Transportation’s Office of Maritime Resources will help the municipal marina fix and update damaged components and install a new security system and Wi-Fi service.
NJ: Grassy Sound Marina, Middle Township: BIG grant: $36,364; non-Federal match: $12,776; total project cost: $49,140. In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy did major damage to the transient docks and other infrastructure at Grassy Sound Marina in southern coastal New Jersey. The State Department of Transportation’s Office of Maritime Resources will help return the marina to its pre-hurricane condition by providing funds to repair gangways and utilities, re-build the marine fueling facility, and install bathrooms and showers for the benefit of eligible transient recreational boaters.
NJ: Silver Cloud Harbor Marina, Forked River: BIG grant: $65,710; non-Federal match: $34,290; total project cost: $100,000. The project will include new bulkhead and the renovation of an existing bulkhead, as well as decking for walkway to access six slips dedicated for transient boats. Electric and water pedestals and lighting will be installed plus signage designating the transient slip locations.
NY: Shattemuc Yacht Club, Town of Ossining, NY: BIG grant: $593,501; non-Federal match: $475,824; total project cost: $1,069,325. The State of New York’s Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation will support a request from the Shattemuc Yacht Club in Ossining, New York, one of the oldest yacht clubs on the Hudson River. Funds will be used to construct 48 slips and moorings for eligible vessels. Transient boaters will have access to the club’s existing pump-out services, as well as restrooms, showers, and pool. The state-of-the-art floating concrete structure will be built to withstand high winds and storm surge, and will serve as a harbor of refuge for boaters traveling the Hudson River.
MI: Bayshore Marina, City of Munising: BIG grant: $1,466,577; non-Federal match: $515,284; total project cost: $1,981,861. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will team up with the City of Munising, Alger County, and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians to add 28 new transient slips and other amenities to the City’s Bayshore Marina. The project will also include extension of an existing L-dock, which will provide protection from northerly and easterly winds. Bayshore Marina is a key stopover and harbor of refuge in an 80-mile section of remote shoreline on the south shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
RI: Bristol Maritime Center, Town of Bristol: BIG grant: $861,028; non-Federal match: $896,180; total cost: $1,757,208. The Rhode Island State Division of Fish and Wildlife will partner with the Town of Bristol to renovate and update the historic Naval Reserve Armory to serve as a public maritime center for the benefit of visiting transient boaters. The facility will provide laundry, restrooms with showers, storage and a variety of other amenities for eligible public users. In addition to the Maritime Center, the project also includes installation of 16 additional transient moorings, and a dingy dock with fresh water for eligible boaters.
SC: Charleston City Marina, Charleston: BIG grant: $1,496,462; non-Federal match: $2,988,753; total project cost: $4,485,215. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources will partner with the City of Charleston to add critical new transient dockage capacity to the City Marina. Due to the success of this 2003 BIG-funded facility, the city seeks to expand to meet growing demand for transient facilities along the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The project will add approximately 50 new slips for transient non-trailerable recreational vessels up to 80 feet in length. Additional project features include a visitor’s welcome center, utilities such as power, water, communications, and high-speed, in-slip fueling equipment.
US Virgin Islands: St. John Marina, Island of St. John: BIG Grant: $1,273,689; non-Federal match: $1,400,000; total project cost: $2,673,689 The Government of the Virgin Islands’ Planning and Natural Resources Division will partner with private investment groups to establish the St. John Marina on the Island of St. John, in the US Territory of the Virgin Islands. This new facility – the first marina on the picturesque Caribbean island of St. John – will provide 96 slips and a boating activity center for eligible transient boaters. Other essential amenities include power and water for eligible traveling boaters.
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS
) is the nation’s leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its over half-million members with government representation, services such as 24-hour on water boat towing as well as roadside assistance for boat trailers and tow vehicles, feature-packed boat insurance programs, money-saving benefits that include marina and West Marine shopping discounts, and vital information that improves the boating, fishing and sailing lifestyle. Its member-funded BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating.